Remember last spring, when I complained about how far Joan of Arcadia had sunk and suggested that its impending cancellation might be best for everyone involved? If I had known that CBS was going to fill its slot with The Ghost Whisperer, I would have kept my big trap shut.

The Formula:
The Ghost Whisperer = Medium – any entertainment value whatsoever.

You know the “show, don’t tell” rule? Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new show goes way beyond telling; in fact, it veers dangerously close to being a radio play. Every piece of information is. Conveyed. Through. Dialogue. Actions, thoughts, emotions, all delivered through tiresome expository conversation; there’s no “show” at all. It doesn’t help that the lines the actors are forced to read are about as engaging as a fifth-grader’s book report. The only good thing about the show is the opening titles, which, admittedly, are kind of neat.

By contrast, the show that The Ghost Whisperer is a blatant knock-off of, Medium, deserves a lot more credit than I previously gave it. I used to be surprised that it was a halfway decent show; now I’m astounded that it manages to avoid the level of banality that CBS is subjecting us to. And the opening of last week’s episode (“The Song Remains the Same”) was flat-out genius, the most entertainingly obnoxious five minutes of the season so far. So if nothing else, The Ghost Whisperer has made me more appreciative of other, better shows. That’s something, I guess.